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Set It Off

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Did you avoid this movie when it opened because of media reports of violence and a gang-related death in certain theaters where it played? Then you missed having a blast. The four long-suffering women who take on the world with blazing semiautomatics still pack an audiovisual wallop on video, though their robberies are less involving than on a big screen — and there’s no substitute for a rowdy audience around you, safety concerns aside. Director F. Gary Gray’s feminized, African-American take on the heist genre is surprisingly fresh and infinitely more empowering than Waiting to Exhale, thanks to a perfect-fit ensemble of black women who belie the types they’ve been cast as. Despite some cliched gimme-all-your-dough setups, Set It Off follows through as an entertaining getaway. B

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